Swedish Timber Prize 2016 winner puts children at the centre of design


The Råå Preschool in Helsingborg, Sweden bagged the 12th Swedish Timber Prize 2016, bringing home a Golden Horse trophy and prize money of SEK 100,000 (~US$12,000).

The building was designed by Dorte Mandrup and Pernille Svendsen of Dorte Mandrup Arkitekter for the City of Helsingborg. The contractor was Peab Sverige AB, with Olle Olsson and Hans Utter as project managers.

The jury—comprising architects Anders Svensson, Karolina Keyzer, Carmen Izquierdo, Rahel Belatchew Lerdell and civil engineer Tomas Alsmarker—explained its choice:

“Råå Preschool is a great example of high ambitions from the client and the architect, with regard to designing an inspiring environment, interpreting the conditions of the site and exploiting the possibilities of wood to create playful and innovative forms and expressions. The jury particularly values the high level of ambition applied to a municipal building for children. This is a category of building that isn’t always afforded the greatest care and ambition. The building’s volume shapes the interior rooms into new worlds to explore and provides views of the sea and land, while the outer form creates its own landscape and makes a very singular and congenial addition to the existing buildings in this fishing community. The clever use of materials and attention to detail offer a new way of protecting against the elements while creating a richly realised interior that meets functional needs and invites interaction and experiences. Råå Preschool makes a convincing statement about the importance of space for children and young people.”

Said Svensson, jury chair of the Swedish Timber Prize 2016, “I think winning the Swedish Timber prize should give a great deal of pride, as the competition is very tough, the standards are very high, and the prize is only awarded every four years.”

The Swedish Timber Prize, organised by Swedish Wood, is one of Sweden’s most important architectural competitions, presented to a building that represents good architecture in wood and that reflects and improves the times people live in. 


Images: Råå Preschool in Helsingborg, winner of the Swedish Timber Prize 2016/ Photo Credit: Åke Eson Lindman